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Microsoft offers ‘free‘ services to Russian government

US-based tech giant Microsoft has suggested providing its products and services to Russia to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. The government will have at least six months of free access. However, Russian software developers believe the idea is a threat to national security, Kommersant writes.

The products in question include cloud services for remote work and shared access, services ensuring cyber security and coronavirus situation analysis, as well as solutions for medical facilities.

Director of the Russian Association of Software Developers Renat Lashin believes that Western vendors seek to take advantage of the pandemic and spur on violations of several Russian laws. In particular, Microsoft’s initiative means that critical data from Russia’s state agencies, medical and educational facilities will be stored and processed overseas. Besides, in Lashin’s words, accepting such an initiative would amount to killing the domestic software industry.

In the past, Microsoft had no rivals in Russia as far as traditional markets go, but as for new markets, including remote access solutions, Russian companies are capable of competing with the US tech behemoth, Russoft Association President Valentin Makarov pointed out. Another thing to note is that extending Microsoft’s licenses may turn out to be more expensive than the use of similar Russian technologies, Development Director at TrueConf Dmitry Odintsov stressed.

According to Ivan Begtin, the founder of the Information Culture independent nonprofit organization, though many governments work with Microsoft, the Russian authorities are hardly ready to strike major deals with the corporation, given the amount of money already spent on the development of domestic products, including cloud services.

Source: Kommersant